Shades of T&TIT.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ken Armstrong" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 10:56 AM
Subject: Re: Eliot on Charles Williams' mysticism
> Nancy Gish wrote:
> > That depends on which poetry and on how you define the terms. Even in
> > /IMH/ there are images and allusions from Christianity, but reading
> > his post-conversion religious attitudes back into the poetry up to the
> > mid-20s is extremely dubious.
> No more dubious than to say, every time Christianity and Eliot come
> up, that he didn't write allegory. Where is it written that to contain
> the element of Christianity in one's poetry one must write allegory?
> Dubious for sure.
> > No one--and certainly not Eliot--is simply one thing or has one
> > attitude, unchanging.
> I would agree with that, except it is so general it says nothing.
> Eliot did say in an interview with a French newspaper that between his
> pre- and post-conversion poetry there was no essential change in point
> of view. Eric Thompson, to whom I've often referred on the list, wrote
> one book on Eliot, and that on Eliot's metaphysical perspective; the
> point being that he had a metaphysical perspective from the time his
> first mature poetry (Prufrock and so forth) appeared to the end. Is this
> boring? I have no idea why it would be. It does not preclude
> experimentation, exploration, peripeteia, or any dynamic thing you can
> think of. Why would anyone think it would?
> > For example, in a letter in about 1919 he called himself a liberal.
> > There is not any simply "seminal aspect" to _all_ of his work--at any
> > rate, there is no general reading of it that assumes one. And to do
> > so, I think, is to make it boringly limited and hardly worth reading.
> > Like all poets of genuine invention, he kept writing new kinds of
> > work; he did not simply produce a continuing allegory. A great deal
> > or energy was expended, mainly in the 1940s, to define a "pattern in
> > the carpet" that would frame all his work as a kind of single, great
> > opus. But most scholars no longer see it that wa
> Can we agree that it really doesn't matter "how most scholars see
> it"? It's not up for a vote.There's no security in numbers. What matters
> is what it is. Either that's the prize or there is no prize. Scholarly
> views change like ripples in a pond. The place the rock hits the water
> is unchanging.
> > and it would be hard to justify now that we know so much more about
> > him and so much prose not available then.
> And later we will know even more. And then more. And scholarly views
> will change and change again. The poetry is in the poem. For those who
> didn't see it 1923 or 1937 or 1963 or 1998, there's no reason to suppose
> it'll be visible in 2014. The mass of knowledge that has accreted around
> Eliot does not make the poetry.
> Ken A